Raptors just became a much easier team to beat for the Lakers

Los Angeles Clippers v Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Clippers v Los Angeles Lakers / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers have been reeling since winning the In-Season Tournament but Sunday the team showed signs of life. The Lakers were able to defeat the surging Los Angeles Clippers 106-103 in a game that fans are hoping can be a launching-off point for the team.

Thankfully, the Lakers do not have as tough of an opponent following the Clippers as the team will host the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night. Toronto has talent but is a middling team that just got worse in the short term by trading OG Anunoby.

The Raptors are a much easier team to play without Anunoby on the roster and they are going to be even easier to match up against on Tuesday. Toronto is going to be without its starting center, Jakob Poeltl, who is sitting out with an ankle sprain.

Raptors are an easier team for the Lakers to beat without Jakob Poeltl

Poeltl is by no means is big-name player in today's league but he is someone who the Raptors just traded a first-round pick for last season. The starting center is having a serviceable season with the Raptors, who are better with him on the floor.

Toronto could absolutely survive against a lot of teams in the league without Poeltl but the Lakers are an exception. The Lakers are the rare team with size in today's league and not having Poeltl is going to put the Raptors at a distinct advantage around the rim.

The Raptors do not have another traditional center on the roster. Following the Anunoby trade, the next-best option to play the five for the Raptors is either Chris Boucher or Jontay Porter, who has played three total games for Toronto.

Both guys are power forwards who really have no business being a starting center. This is a nightmare scenario for the Raptors as they prepare to take on Anthony Davis and LeBron James, who will play bully ball near the rim against this short-handed frontcourt.

If there was ever a time for AD to turn in one of his vintage performances it would be on Tuesday night against the Raptors. There is absolutely no reason for Davis to not dominate this matchup and the Lakers need to run the offense through him. This is the kind of matchup where Davis can get 45 and 15. Leaning into that is the best way for the Lakers to emerge victoriously.

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